Iowa Stories

Betty Neilson, Eagle Grove

(Nominated by Julie A. Pedersen, Adele Milanowycz, Kate Droessler, Linda Madsen, Georgeann Flemmings, Kathy Dillaber, Carolyn Wheatley,  Susan Vrooman, Carl Raines,  Arlene Feistner Larson, Sally Hoefing, Barb Bitterman, Judy Samuelson, Deb Peters, Kim Langel, Myrna King, Denise Krischel, Jada Hallberg, Kay Stoulil, Mary Flaherty, Pat Archer, Brenda Beneke, Jenifer Krischel, Pam Schuttler, Betty Pollema , Ellen FitzPatrick, Lynn Jenson, Kathy Hout, Lori Baade, Vicki Niesen, Amy Peterson, Linnea Holmer ,  Jeanine Haack, Jodi Rutledge, Debra Hefty, Dean L. Benschoter, Carol Merrill, Julie Murphy, Shelly Terhark, Barbara Overton. Mary Weber, Kurt Stein, Curt Blake, Mark & Irma McVicker, Colleen Schneider, Sandi Markla)
Robert Blue Middle School
February 24, 2011

Betty Nielsen started Freedom Quilts when she got on her knees the night of 9/11 after the horrific destruction of the Twin Towers and prayed to see how she could be of service to others.  She and her husband, both veterans, have donated their time, talents, and financial resources to make and provide custom quilts to those who lost loved ones in 9/11 and now for families of fallen soldiers from the War on Terror, personalized with items from their loved one. They and several volunteers have produced nearly 7000 quilts made with love and hand-delivered the quilt whenever possible.  They have shown up at various sites with a truck full of quilts and hearts full of love and support.  Betty is a humble, hard-working individual who has touched many lives and never asked for anything in exchange for her hard work.  She just wants the families to feel the love of their lost ones by wrapping the personalized quilt around them to comfort them in their time of sorrow. The Mc Vickers from Ohio whose son was killed in Iraq wrote “I don’t know how to better explain this type of comfort other than her gift allowed us the opportunity to feel as though we can literally “crawl” into the warmth of our memories that she and God captured.” Adele Milanowycz from New Jersey lost her son on 9/11.  She writes:  “As a 9/11 family member, I appreciate Betty’s friendship especially now as we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11/01.  I continue to gain strength and support from the quilt Betty made me 10 years ago.    I know and see first hand how this organization has really made a difference and continues to provide support for all families following the loss of our loved ones.  God Bless Freedom Quilts.”